South of civilization and surrounded by the Pacific Ocean rests a mystical land where nature seekers find all they've always wanted. Lush rainforests filled with wildlife, banana plantations and untamed waves dominate the landscape in the Osa Peninsula and southern Costa Rica.
The ecological grandeur is protected through 17 national parks, wildlife refuges and reserves that create the perfect habitat and guarantee the survival of the many endangered species found in the region. National Geographic magazine described it best calling it the most biologically intense place on the mainland.
The Southern Pacific region is a unique experience of contact with beautiful beaches and virgin primary rainforest.
The Corcovado National Park will remind you of the marvels of nature. Step inside this world of wonders.
Costa Rica's South Pacific region is best known for its immense biological diversity and natural beauty. It's also characterized by a blend of ethnic influences and clearly defined microclimates that go from highlands to interesting and desolate beaches. All these differences fill the area with dramatic sights and endless adventure possibilities.
The best time of year to drop by is between January and April, since it rains less during this period. However, any of the other months are great if you don't mind a few rain showers, since the water makes flowers and all the green around the forest come alive.
You can take an hour flight or drive along a paved coastal road, and take advantage of the good road network that connects the entire area. Several upscale hotels and resorts are spread out all over this region, and provide visitors with everything from one day guided tours, to scuba diving and horseback riding. There also other kinds of cozy accomodations fitting for every lifestyle.
There's almost no creature that you won't be able to see as you move through the region. Prepare yourself for the sight of monkeys, coatimundis, agoutis, armadillos, squirrels, sloths, deer, iguanas, crocodiles, hawks, ducks, flycatchers, toucans, parrots, jungle cats, tapirs, quetzals and a wide variety of insects. What more could one ask for?
The South Pacific is ideal for anyone who wishes to practice water sports, like rafting in the General and Coto Brus rivers. In Pavones, surfers are greeted by the second longest left wave in the world. Professional fishing is done in Golfito, Pavones and Puerto Jimenez. World records have been established, given the large size of the sailfish in these areas. Chirripo, the highest peak in the country, presents a great opportunity for visitors who accept the challenge of climbing to the top.
Rural and tropical
There are two very different ways to enjoy Costa Rica's South Pacific region. The Pan-American highway, will take you along small villages, like Perez Zeledon.
These towns are filled with the country' tradition and the friendliness of its people, and are great stops before venturing into the wonder of the wild.
The coastal road allows visitors to absorb the scenery of long beaches, quiet bays and ideal surfing spots. The Osa Peninsula is a virtually untouched section of the region, with nature in the most amazing, pristine state.
The Golfito National Wildlife refuge protects a primary evergreen forest, inside which 125 species of trees alone have been identified. Piedras Blancas (white Stones) National Park is located deep in the rain forest, and serves for great birdwatching. Along transport you to a full state of relaxation. Near Golfito, Gallardo, Cacao, Puntarenitas and Atrocho are perfect. Further South, the find, gray sand and abundant vegetation of Zancudo is quite unique.
Plenty of life
It's no wonder that most of the country's protection zones are located in this region. Specifically, there are nine national parks and protected areas, as well as half of the country's nature reserves.
But perhaps the most intriguing of all destinations within the South Pacific is the Osa Peninsula. It just into the Pacific Ocean for more than 31 miles, forming Golfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf) and creating a magnificent natural harbor. Some of the country's most imposing forests cover the hills and line the valley of this peninsula.
Inside, the Corcovado National Park covers more than 99.000 acres and is a perfect example of a primary forest. It protects the last portion of Tropical Humid Forest of the Mesoamerican Pacific, and given its geographical location, climate, soil and topography, an amazing diversity of species thrive here.
All of these qualities have awakened great interest among scientists, local and foreign, and have put the area under continuous study. The discoveries could bring great benefit to agriculture, medicine and other related fields of study. Several plant species found here don't exist in other parks, and anyone who visits will come face to face with a wealth of animals: over 400 birds species; over 100 species of amphibians; and 100 of mammals.
Up until the arrival of the Spanish, indigenous groups inhabited the area. It's believed that they settled here due to the abundance of wildlife. Archaeologists show interest in the region, as they try to go deeper into the natives' relationship with nature and understand their use of resources. Even though a lot of the area has been virtually unexplored, important evidence that points to the relevance of this lifestyle has been found.